Differences in a job interview: English-speaking countries and Japan


Interview measures are very important for overseas employment and job changes. The circumstances of interviews overseas are very different from those in Japan, and vary from country to country. In this article, I will explain the points to note when receiving an interview and the points to break through.

We have also compiled 10 frequently asked questions, so please use them as an interview measure. By knowing the tendency of the question and the example of the answer, you should be able to calmly approach the interview.

Table of contents
  • What is the difference from Japan? Characteristics of job hunting and job hunting activities overseas
  • Employment / change of employment in typical countries
  • Rough flow of overseas interviews
  • Characteristics of interviews for overseas job changes and employment
  • 10 frequently asked questions during overseas job interviews
  • Points to note when interviewing overseas
  • Conclusion

How is it different from Japan? Characteristics of job hunting and job hunting activities overseas

In interviews in Japan, there is a tendency to emphasize manners such as "knocking the door three times before entering the room", but overseas, the manners, culture, and customs are different. Therefore, it is important to know the characteristics of job hunting and job hunting activities overseas and to take appropriate interview measures for that country. First, I will explain mainly the differences between Japan and overseas.

Basically meritocracy

In Japan, humanity such as personality and communication skills is evaluated, but overseas, ability, skills, and career are emphasized. Especially in Europe and the United States, meritocracy is the basis. In Western countries, in order to clearly distinguish between business and private life, the major criterion is "how much human resources can contribute to the company". Therefore, you do not have to worry about the interview manners peculiar to Japan.

Depending on the country, the academic background of a difficult university or a first-class university may be evaluated, but a simple equation such as "because you are a graduate of a first-class university, you are an excellent human resource" does not hold. To the last, the ability such as past achievements and skills will be the axis of evaluation.

Job-type employment is adopted

Although new graduate recruitment is well established in Japan, there is no Japanese-style job hunting overseas. Regardless of whether you are a new graduate or change jobs, you will enter the company at the timing of the applicant.

In addition, it is common to hire job-type employment overseas. In job-type employment, an employment contract is concluded after clearly defining the job title and job title. For example, we are recruiting in specific positions such as "programmer" and "section chief", so it is simply evaluated whether the applicant has the required skills.

It can be said that the important point is not the idea of hiring and then training human resources as in Japan, but the ability to bring profits to the company as an immediate force.

The content and writing style of the resume is very different

For job hunting in Japan, it is recommended to create a resume by hand. The background is to show enthusiasm and sincerity to the company by carefully handwriting over time, but this is a custom only in Japan.

For overseas employment / change of job, it is basic to create using software. A handwritten resume gives the hiring manager a negative image, such as "I can't use my computer" or "I'm wasting time".

If you don't have a specific format, write in a free format focusing on your abilities, skills, and career. You do not need to enter any personal information such as gender or family structure.

Employment / change of employment in a typical country

Even if you say overseas, the circumstances of finding a job or changing jobs differ from country to country. This chapter summarizes the characteristics of each of the United States, Germany, Spain, Hong Kong, and Vietnam.


With some of the best business districts in Silicon Valley and Manhattan, the United States, which can work in a state-of-the-art environment, attracts talented people from all over the world.

Even in hiring, there is a strong tendency for meritocracy, and immediate action is required. Therefore, if you are a new graduate, let's appeal not only the university grades but also practical work experience such as internships. If you are a researcher, academic papers will be evaluated, but experience such as athletic club activities that are not related to the work of the applicant company will not be evaluated.

In order to work in the United States, you must obtain a work visa and break through the high ratio of applicant companies, so the difficulty of finding a job or changing jobs is high.


Germany, a technological powerhouse, is also a popular place to work overseas. Another big attraction is that long vacations and regular leave are well established.

In Germany, productivity improvement is being thoroughly pursued, and the division of roles is clear. Therefore, there is a tendency for specialized knowledge to be emphasized when finding employment or changing jobs in Germany. In Germany, specialized education for employment is provided by elementary and junior high school students, so each person's ability is higher than in other countries.

It is common for German university students to find employment at an internship destination, and a schedule is set up so that classes and internships can be compatible. If you want to get a job or change jobs from Japan, it is indispensable to have professional qualifications and achievements that match the type of industry and occupation.


Spain is a region with many historic buildings and a lot of sports. The paid acquisition rate is high, and it is a country where you can work while valuing time with your family.

Many people visit Spain for sightseeing, but the difficulty tends to be higher when it comes to finding a job or changing jobs. The economy of Spain is stagnant, so recruitment of foreigners is not very active. Also, many Spaniards do not speak English, so in most cases you will be required to have Spanish skills as well as English.

In addition to language skills, specialized skills that can be appealed are also required. If you want to work in Spain, the recommended way is to get a student visa and participate in an internship there.

Hong Kong

Hong Kong has been returned to China after the period of British rule, and is a region where a unique culture was formed. In addition, it is one of the world's leading financial powerhouses with many foreign-affiliated companies operating against the backdrop of low tax rates.

There are many expatriates and locally hired jobs, and we are actively hiring. Although there are many job offers, there are applications from all over the world, and the competition rate tends to be high.

This area is suitable for people who want to get a job using English, who are interested in Greater China, and who want to interact with people from various countries.


Vietnam, where many Japanese companies are expanding, is a promising country with a high economic growth rate in Southeast Asia. It has a good relationship with Japan, and it is a great advantage that you can travel without a visa.

Also, if you are a foreign-affiliated company, you may be able to get a job even if you cannot speak Vietnamese. In the case of services involving local subsidiaries of Japanese companies and Japanese people, it can be said that the environment is easier to get a job than when changing jobs to Europe and the United States.

Rough flow of overseas interviews

First of all, the flow leading up to the interview is different between overseas and Japan.

Overseas interview Interview in Japan
Create a resume (Curriculum Vitae / Resume) in Word Create a resume / CV by hand
There is basically no inspection before the interview Take an aptitude test or a common sense test
Get in touch with the interview Get in touch with the interview
One interview (may be multiple times) ・ No specific clothing specified (however, business suits are recommended depending on the type of job) Conducted multiple interviews ・ Black recruitment suit is recommended
Recruitment Recruitment

There are many countries / regions where you will find employment through an internship, and it is not uncommon for you to be unable to proceed to an interview in the first place. There is also a visa issue for foreigners to work. Therefore, if you want to get a job overseas or change jobs, it is also effective to study abroad with a student visa and find an internship destination.

The day of the interview will be roughly as follows.

1. Self-introduction
2. Motivation for aspiration
3. Career and self-appeal
4. Questions about specialty
5. Matching conditions

Unlike Japan, there are almost no questions about humanity.

Characteristics of interviews for overseas job changes and employment

When changing jobs or finding employment overseas, "how much profit is brought to the company" is evaluated. Unlike Japan, where employees are carefully trained after being hired, the content of interviews will change overseas, where immediate work force is required. In this chapter, we will introduce five features of overseas interviews.

Narrow gate just to have an interview

In many countries, employment from internships is common overseas. Only when you are recognized as a person who can contribute to the company by gaining practical experience through an internship can you conclude a formal employment contract.

Of course, companies may solicit recruitment, but since there is a tendency for applicants to be inundated, it is a narrow gate just to have an interview. Recruiters will only contact you if you are interested in the application documents.

Creating a resume that incorporates your own appeal points and the benefits of the company is the key to getting to the interview. However, blindly increasing the amount can be counterproductive, so be sure to briefly describe the skills and background that match your company.

Interview time is shorter than in Japan

Interviews abroad are shorter than in Japan. Interviews in Japan emphasize communication skills and humanity, so conversation time tends to be long.

On the other hand, in overseas interviews, questions about skills and career are the main questions. Interview time will be shorter because there are no private questions such as hobbies or special skills.
Also, in the case of overseas interviews for job-type employment, the interview may be terminated in the middle if it is evaluated as a person who does not meet the conditions. You may find it difficult to get used to interviewing in Japan, but it is common overseas where efficiency is important. Even if the interview is discontinued, let's identify the points of reflection and switch your mind toward the next interview.

Communication is straightforward

Communicate as straightforward as possible. Basically, it's best to give your conclusions first. While watching the reaction of the other party, I will add the reason for reaching the conclusion.

In interviews in Japan, you are often given time to talk unilaterally, but overseas, be aware of the communication you have with the other person.

Also, minimum English skills are required to work abroad. Local language is also required depending on the country and occupation. Make sure you know in advance which language you will be interviewing.

Clothing and manners are not as important as in Japan

Black recruitment suits are well established in Japanese interviews, but overseas, clothing and etiquette are not as important as in Japan. Casual clothing such as denim and hoodies is acceptable for IT and venture companies, but business suits are safe for financial companies.

There is no Japanese etiquette such as the number of knocks and how to sit on a chair, but business etiquette needs to be conscious. In particular, English has phrases and expressions that are suitable for business situations. Even if you're a frank interviewer, be sure to choose the right words for a businessman.

Most of the questions are about skills and experience

Most overseas interviews ask questions about skills and experience. There are two reasons for this.

The first is that, as introduced above, "hiring human resources that bring profits to the company" is our top priority. In order to judge whether the person is a person who matches the recruitment from the skill and experience, the question naturally focuses on the work.

Second, they tend to avoid private questions thoroughly. Although the number is decreasing, Japanese interviews still ask private questions such as marriage plans and whether or not they have children. Overseas, it is rude to step into private life unnecessarily, which not only damages the reputation of the company, but may also lead to litigation issues.

10 Frequently Asked Questions for Job Interviews

This chapter introduces 10 frequently asked questions and answer examples in overseas job interviews and job interviews. Frequently asked questions are easy to deal with, so be prepared.

Tell me about yourself.

When introducing yourself, focus on your background, not your personality. Especially when the position is clear in job-type employment, we will pick up and talk about careers that match the conditions. It is recommended to pick up the results that the hiring manager is interested in, instead of telling all the careers in chronological order as in Japan.

Answer example:

I worked for 5 years as a finance analyst. And this year, I received a company award. I can contribute to you based on my professional experience .

Why should we hire you?

In overseas interviews, you are often asked why you hire yourself. Let's promote not only Japanese self-appeal but also benefits and benefits for the company. You don't have to be humble in an overseas interview. Clearly communicate your strengths and why you can contribute to the company. It is recommended that you can appeal your achievements by using specific numerical values, as it will improve your persuasiveness.

Answer example:

I was responsible for major customers. In the case of one client whose name is A Company in the US, the profits increased by 50% this year compared with last year.

What are your strengths / weakness? (About my strengths and weaknesses)

The strengths and weaknesses are frequently asked questions in Japanese interviews. Be aware that the time allocation between the strengths and weaknesses is balanced. The point is to conclude with a positive impression, such as telling us that we are working on improvement.

Also, cultures and customs are different between Japan and overseas. Even if it is regarded as an advantage in Japan, it may give a negative impression in some countries, so be sure to check the culture and customs of the country you are interviewing in advance.

Answer example:

Former boss always said to me that my presentation material was perfect but the way of speaking was not good. Therefore, I'm learning at the online school to improve my presentation skills.

Why do you want to work here?

Why are you interested in our company? May be asked. Instead of answering yourself, such as "I want to work in a state-of-the-art environment," let the other person have a good impression.

For example, an answer such as "I think that I have an environment where I can make the most of my experience and skills and that my background can make a big contribution to the company" is recommended.

Answer example:

Your company has the latest technology and I think I will take advantage of my skill for your development.

What are your salary expectations? (Salary hope)

In overseas interviews, the conditions are also adjusted. Salary and treatment are important items for choosing a company, but let's wait for the story to be cut out from the company side.

When the other person feels that he wants to hire this person, he will be asked a question about salary. If you talk about salary yourself while you're still thinking about it, it can give you a negative impression.

Also, since the salary level is fixed to some extent at the interview stage, avoid expressing hopes that are significantly out of the market.

Answer example:

My previous salary was $ 80,000. Therefore, My desired annual salary would be $ 90,000 in your company.

What kind of people do you enjoy? (People who want to work together after joining the company)

You may have a strong image of working in stand play overseas, but cooperation is important in every country. Team play may be essential depending on the industry and occupation. Therefore, you may be asked who you would like to work with after joining the company. In the background of the question, there is also the intention of "I want to determine if it is a human resource who can work as a team".

Therefore, it would be good if you could not only convey your opinion that you want to work with such a person, but also appeal to the points that you are attracted to working in a team and the role that you can play in the team.

Answer example:

I like working as a team because we can share a sense of accomplishment. It's good for all of us to work with the people who respect each other.

Why are you leaving your job? (Reason for quitting previous job)

There may be some negative reasons for quitting your previous job. You don't have to lie, but it's a good idea to be aware of it in a positive way.

In particular, changing jobs overseas is strongly positioned as a step-up, so positive reasons such as "I wanted to make more use of my skills" and "I wanted to work for a rapidly growing company" are preferred.

Answer example:

I'm changing jobs to step up in my career. My previous position was only in Japan. However, I hope I work abroad. Therefore I'm leaving my job.

What were your responsibilities in your past work experience? What issues you had? (What I achieved in my previous job)

As for what you have accomplished in your previous job and what you have experienced in your past job, build a story that is not only a successful experience but also a story of success.

The other person does not want to listen to heroic stories or bragging stories, but seeks an attitude toward work and problem-solving ability from the answers. Therefore, it is best if you can simply tell what difficulties you faced and how you overcame them.

Answer example:

However, the interns of whom I was in charge always failed to clear the target.The reason is my way of teaching. Therefore, I made a sales manual for they and solved this problem.

What are your plans in the next five years? (Plan after 5 years)

The stronger your longing for overseas employment / change of employment, the more you may think that hiring is your goal. In order to answer questions about your future plans smoothly, it is important to be aware that you will start after you get a job.

The company also spends time and money on recruiting activities. Therefore, I do not intend to actively hire people who are likely to quit soon. It is important to firmly emphasize that you have a desire to contribute to the company over the long term.

Answer example:

I hope to be in a management position within 5 years. For the goal, I study economics and intend to get a professional qualification.

Do you have any questions for me?

This is a frequently asked question at the end of an interview. Feel free to ask any questions, including treatment.

Also, it is better to prepare some questions in advance. Asking questions from yourself will also appeal to your enthusiasm. It is also recommended to ask questions that can only be asked at the interview, such as the future direction of the company.

Answer example:

If you don't mind, may I ask you the forecast in terms of business for the next 5 years?

Precautions when interviewing overseas

When you have an interview abroad, please pay attention to the following 5 points.

・ Answer all in a positive way
・ Conclusion → Reason → Speak in the order of concrete examples
・ Make eye contact ・ Companies that receive eye contact
・ Varies depending
on the interviewer ・ Interview measures in English are essential!

Let's take a closer look at each.

Answer all with positive expressions

Humility is also appreciated in Japan, but overseas it can give a negative impression of being bearish or lacking in self-confidence. Therefore, be aware that all answers use positive expressions. For negative questions such as weaknesses and setbacks, show a positive attitude, such as "how do you deal with them?"

However, it is also important to be aware of reasonable answers, as unfounded positives can give a careless image.

Speak in the order of conclusion → reason → concrete example

In overseas interviews, try to speak with conclusions → reasons → concrete examples. After making a brief conclusion, I will reinforce the story with reasons and concrete examples. In Japan, storytelling such as Kishōtenketsu is sometimes preferred, but in foreign countries, it gives an impression that it is sloppy, so be careful.

In addition, by making a conclusion at the beginning, there is an advantage that it will be easier to develop the story without losing sight of the landing point even in unfamiliar English.

Make eye contact

Many Japanese may not like it, but proper eye contact is important for overseas interviews. By looking at each other, you can give the other person an impression of honesty and good impression. On the other hand, if your eyes are swimming or looking down, you may look unconfident.

If you have more than one interviewer, shift your eyes to each one and answer while watching the reaction of the other person.

It depends on the company / interviewer who receives the interview even in overseas interviews.

The content of overseas interviews varies depending on the company and interviewer you receive. In particular, the image of human resources and skills required by "Japanese companies" and "local companies" will change significantly.

For Japanese companies that often deal with Japanese people, Japanese interviews may be preferred. Interviewers are also unique and may ask questions that they haven't prepared at all.

Gather and prepare for the interview as much as possible, and be prepared to respond flexibly on the day of the interview.

Interview preparation in English is essential!

For overseas interviews, it is essential to prepare for the interview in English. Overseas, the interview time is short, and there is a tendency for the number of interviews to be one.

In other words, it is essential to practice to maximize your appeal in one interview. Online English conversation is recommended for practicing communication with the interviewer. There is a limit to self-taught interview preparation, so let's make good use of online English conversation in order to acquire skills efficiently.


If you are thinking of finding a job overseas or changing jobs, interview measures are indispensable. Unlike Japanese interviews, where humanity is important, overseas, skills and abilities are mainly evaluated.